Jin Sol Lee UC Davis Keller Pathway Fellow

Jin Sol Lee
Virtual cardiac recovery platform to improve cardiac rehabilitation

Note: Jin Sol Lee was a Keller Pathway Fellow in 2019/20. This interview was conducted in winter 2020.

Jin Sol Lee is an internal medicine resident at UC Davis Health and a 2019/20 Keller Pathway Fellow. Lee obtained his B.S. and M.D. at UCLA and his MPH at Fielding School of Public Health. He is the co-founder and CEO of Fruitful Health.

In a nutshell, describe your project or venture.

Kairos is a virtual cardiac recovery platform built in collaboration with heart attack survivors and healthcare experts at UC Davis. Our goal is to help cardiac rehabilitation (CR) centers improve enrollment and adherence by making home-based CR personalized for the resounding four out of five heart attack survivors who have trouble attending center-based CR.

What’s important about your research or project—and where do you hope to take it?

Every year nearly one million Americans will suffer a heart attack. In the hospital, an interventional cardiologist will give these patients a life-saving heart stent, which will open the patient’s blocked artery in the heart. Outside of the hospital, cardiologists rely on cardiac rehab to help patients recover after their heart attack. Cardiac rehab has been is so effective in saving lives, improving quality of life, and saving our healthcare system money that even Medicare and almost all private insurers reimburse and pay for cardiac rehab for heart attack survivors.

However, the problem is four out of five heart attack survivors do NOT attend cardiac rehab. That’s because center-based cardiac rehab is inconvenient. Today, cardiac rehab relies on patients to drive to the center three times a week during a regular work week. Additionally, patients may have to wait up to four weeks after their heart attack to enroll. That means heart attack survivors who just survived a life-threatening event don’t get the support patients and their family needs when they need it most. At home, heart attack survivors will continue to struggle to adapt to a completely different lifestyle without the support in real time from the rigid business hours of a cardiac rehab center.

Home-based virtual cardiac rehab is emerging as a safe alternative or enhancement in delivery of center-based rehab among a large majority of heart attack survivors that can be much more convenient for patients. However, convenience is only one part of the equation to solving the problem of nonadherence to center based cardiac rehab.

At Kairos, we leverage the power of perspective from our patients and their caregivers to personalize cardiac recovery, with healthcare experts grounding our development on the foundation of applied behavioral science.

What are you most passionate about in your work? 

President John F. Kennedy said, “We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. …because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept [and] one we are unwilling to postpone.”

Likewise, internal medicine doctors are at the intersection of multiple points of care for the patient, and thus they face the added challenge of coordinating care for patients in a highly fragmented healthcare system. Additionally, internal medicine doctors also need to ground their care in strong patient advocacy and empathetic care to help patients develop critical health behavior change.

Thus, after receiving my medical and public health degree at UCLA, I started my internal medicine residency training here at UC Davis to learn to become a physician committed to advancing patient care through the delivery of high-quality medicine, mindful care coordination, and personalized advocacy to help implement lasting change among my patients.

UC Davis Denmark Fellowship Program Digital Health Technologies

As a medicine resident I realized the limitations of my care as a healthcare provider. Fortunately, I met amazing mentors in both cardiology (Dr. Manoj Kesarwani and Dr. Javier Lopez) and digital health (Dr. Katherine Kim) at UC Davis who have shaped my career tremendously.

I discovered that in the field of cardiology health behavior change, care coordination, and evidence-based and patient-centered medicine are critical. I learned that cardiac rehab was one of the few comprehensive programs in medicine that addresses all three domains of the type of high-quality care I had committed to provide for my patients. Additionally, I discovered that digital health platforms provided the extension of care my patients needed that I couldn’t provide during an episodic clinic or hospital encounter.

Thus, I mobilized together mission-driven engineers, designers and business students to help design a mHealth platform that could focus on one of the biggest problems in healthcare: cardiac rehab adherence. For me, it was absolutely critical that our platform was built with patients—the users—in mind, innovation to challenge the status quo, and business viability built on the foundation of ethical entrepreneurship to scale the delivery of critical health technology for the millions of patients in need.

How will your experiences as a Keller Pathway Fellow help you to change the world?

Through the Keller Pathway Fellowship, the Entrepreneurship Academy and other mentorship opportunities, I learned about product market fit using customer interviews to rapidly test to see if the proposed solutions actually addressed patients’ real pain points before time and money was invested in development.

Furthermore, through the sponsorship of the Transatlantic Telehealth Research Network, I learned the principles of participatory design and applied behavioral science.

As I continue to learn from the growing network of peers and mentors at UC Davis and across the UC system, I am growing an incredible network of peers and mentors that have helped build the foundations I needed in mHeath research and innovation to drive meaningful innovation for patients beyond the constraints of my physical reach as their provider.